Surgical examination of the inside of the abdomen and the internal organs for any abnormality.  This is done through a 15 - 30 cm cut into the abdomen, depending on the size of the abdomen.



See “About your anaesthetic” information sheet for information about the anaesthetic and the risks involved.  If you have any concerns, talk these over with your anaesthetist.

If you have not been given an information sheet, please ask for one.

General Risks Of A Procedure

They include:

  • Small areas of the lungs may collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection.  This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Clots in the legs with pain and swelling.  Rarely part of this clot may break off and go to the lungs which can be fatal.
  • A heart attack because of strain on the heart or a stroke.
  • Death is possible due to the procedure.

Risks Of This Procedure

There are some risks/ complications, which include:

  • Deep bleeding in the abdomen. This may need fluid replacement, blood transfusion or further surgery.  This may mean a longer stay in hospital and longer recovery time.
  • Damage to other organs, such as bladder or bowel, which may need further surgery.  This may mean a longer stay in hospital and longer recovery time.
  • Removal of part or all of some pelvic organs, e.g. ovary (s), tube (s) or uterus.
  • Infections such as pus in the abdomen.  This may need surgical drainage and antibiotics.
  • Bowel blockage after the operation.  This may be temporary or in the longer term.  Treatment may be a drip to give fluids into the vein and no food or fluids by mouth.  If it doesn’t get better, bowel surgery may be necessary which may include a colostomy.  This can be temporary or permanent.
  • Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) which can cause bowel obstruction.  This can be a short term or long term complication and may need further surgery.
  • The wound may not heal normally.  The scar can be thickened and red and may be painful.  This is permanent and can be disfiguring.
  • Poor wound healing.  The wound may burst open which may require long term wound care with dressings and antibiotics, or a hernia i.e. rupture can form in the long term.  This may need repair by further surgery.
  • Increased risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications and thrombosis.
  • Increased risk in smokers of wound and chest infections, heart and lung complications and thrombosis.
  • Very low possibility of a fistula (a connecting passage between one area and another) developing.
  • There is a possibility that the symptom(s)/pain you have been experiencing and the reason for this operation, may not resolve or worsen as a complication of the procedure.
  • The cause of pain/other symptoms sometimes cannot be found, if you are having an exploratory operation.